The Dynamics of Language and Inequality in Education Social and Symbolic Boundaries in the Global South Edited by: Joel Austin Windle, Dánie de Jesus, Lesley Bartlett

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13 Feb 2020
New Perspectives on Language and Education
Multilingual Matters
234 x 156


This book contributes new perspectives from the Global South on the ways in which linguistic and discursive boundaries shape inequalities in educational contexts, ranging from Amazonian missions to Mongolian universities. Through critical ethnographic and sociolinguistic analysis, the chapters explore how such boundaries contribute to the geopolitics of colonialism, capitalism and myriad, interwoven, forms of social life that structure both oppression and resistance. Boundaries are examined across time and space as relational constructs that mark the terms upon which admission to groups, institutions, territories, or practices are granted. The studies further present alternative educational approaches that demonstrate the potential for agency and transgression, highlighting moments of boundary crossing that disrupt existing linguistic ideologies, language policies and curriculum structures. 


The dividing practices of coloniality continue to affect our language ideologies, linguistic pedagogies, and the relative status of languages. Bound up with issues of access, power and identity, language is a complex terrain that learners and teachers in the political South navigate constantly. This volume provides insight into this complexity while presenting possibilities for thinking otherwise that embrace multiplicity, maintain diversity and hint at the transgressive.

- Hilary Janks, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Boundaries real and metaphoric unify this unique collection on the dynamics of language and inequality in settings less often voiced in mainstream publications. As these inspiring chapters show, boundaries can be imposed and/or concealed but also transgressed by informed and courageous language educators.

- Brian Morgan, Glendon College, York University, Canada

Kipling’s famous assertion “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet” has morphed under the influence of today’s geopolitical climate into an all-out clash between the North and the South, but the fundamental premises of the divide remain intact. It is fuelled by the fear of the Other. Or rather, the need to reassure one of the integrity of one’s own group by othering those that don’t fit in. This collection of insightful papers delves into the genealogy of the tense standoff, its multifarious manifestations, and its abiding—almost visceral—persistence in the scheme of things. While pointing out the North’s constant need to justify itself by hammering home its opposition to this Other, it also underscores how the South also plays a constitutive role in the very identity of the North. Finally, some of the contributors also look at how transgressive moves emanating from the South can muddy the waters and thereby thwart the North’s ingeniously laid out plans to maintain the status quo.

- Kanavilil Rajagopolan, University of Campinas, Brazil

Author Biography:

Joel Austin Windle is Professor of Modern Languages, Fluminense Federal University, Brazil and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, Australia. He is the author of Making Sense of School Choice (Palgrave, 2015, Winner of the Raewyn Connell and Stephen Crook prizes).

Dánie de Jesus is Professor of English, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil. He has edited volumes in Portuguese entitled Critical Perspectives on Language Teaching (Pontes, 2017) and Studies on Gender: Identities, Discourse and Education (Pontes, 2017).

Lesley Bartlett is Professor of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. She is co-author (with Frances Vavrus) of Rethinking Case Study Research (Routledge, 2015) and co-editor (with Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher) of Refugees, Immigrants, and Education in the Global South: Lives in Motion (Routledge, 2012).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional

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